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Metalworking Fluids

Index

   1. Introduction
   2. Health Surveillance

Appendix 1 - Metalworking Fluids - Questionnaire for Detection of Skin Abnormalities   (A copy of this questionnaire can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word '97 document - Metalworking Fluids - questionnarie for detecting skin abnormalities (RTF, 7 KB))

Appendix 2 - Metalworking Fluids - Questionnaire for the Detection of Lung problems   (A copy of this questionnaire can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word '97 document - Metalworking Fluids - questionnarie for the detection of lung problems (RTF, 5 KB))

Introduction

Health problems can arise if metalworking fluids are not properly used and controlled. While skin irritation and dermatitis are the most common complaints, there is also some evidence of respiratory complaints such as asthma among workers exposed to aerosols and mists from such fluids.

A COSHH risk assessment is required where metalworking fluids are fluids are used, e.g. in engineering workshops and control measures implemented to eliminate or minimise the exposure to the skin and/or respiratory tract of the exposed persons. Questionnaires for the identification of skin abnormalities and lung problems are appended to this document (see Appendix 1 and Appendix 2).

Note: Details of any health surveillance programme adopted and arrangements for skin care / Personal Protective Equipment should be included in a School/Unit Health and Safety Policy.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a new guidance booklet entitled 'Working Safely with Metalworking Fluids - Good Practice Manual' (HS(G) 231). The HSE believes that users of metalworking fluids following the principles in this guidance will find real benefits in terms of reduced ill health as well as prolonged fluid life, increased tool life and improved machine performance.

All relevant Schools/Units should obtain a copy of this HSE booklet and should take steps to impelemnt the good practices given in it

HEALTH SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMME - METALWORKING FLUIDS

  1. Encourage high standards of personal hygiene in exposed persons, advising on the prompt removal of any skin contamination, and the use of soap and warm water followed by application of an emollient or moisturiser cream;
  2. Undertake the regular skin inspection of exposed persons to detect any adverse effects (at a typical frequency of once per month);
  3. Carry out regular tours of work areas to check effectiveness of exposure controls and seek evidence of any adverse health effects such as skin irritation or breathing problems;
  4. Assist in the recognition of skin or breathing problems by encouraging employees to complete questionnaires every 12 months (copy enclosed);
  5. In confidence, review sickness absence records to identify any employees who might have experienced skin or breathing problems;
  6. Advise any employees with skin or breathing problems to seek advice from the University Occupational Unit.

References

Working Safely with Metalworking Fluids - Good Practice Manual (HSG 231). Published by HSE Books. ISBN 0-7176-2544-3.

Working Safely with Metalworking Fluids - A Guide for Employees (INDG 365 (Rev1). Published by HSE Books (2006).

Metalworking Fluids - questionnarie for detecting skin abnormalities (RTF, 7 KB)

Metalworking Fluids - questionnarie for the detection of lung problems (RTF, 5 KB)

Contact

Environmental Health and Safety Services contact details

University of St Andrews
Bute Building Queens Terrace
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9TS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462750
Fax:44 (0)1334 462747